What is wintertime?
When the clock is changed in the winter we basically return to the geographical time zone where we are. The term winter time came about after daylight saving time was introduced. Daylight saving time was originally invented to save energy and costs. In the summer, the sun rises so early that people are often still asleep. By setting the clocks back, the sun rises later and the sun sets later. So you have more light during the day and the costs for energy would be lower. The assumption that summer time actually saves energy is outdated now. Because daylight saving time is our standard time, it is closest to our circadian rhythm (natural rhythm).
Our Circadian rhythm is a biological day and night rhythm. We all have a biological clock that controls the different systems in our body. Think of our heart rate, sleep rhythm, temperature, metabolism, blood pressure and hormone release. When your biorhythm is out of sync with your daily schedule, our body does not function optimally. Nowadays we actually have too much choice in when we do things. When you are hungry you dive into the fridge and satisfy the urge to eat something. Telephone use and watching television cause us to go to bed later than our natural rhythm indicates. Electricity and our 24-hour society mean that nowadays we can also go to the gym at night. This can cause your lifestyle to be out of sync with your natural rhythm.
What do you notice during winter time?
Many people notice that they become more depressed with the introduction of winter time. This has not so much to do with wintertime but with the number of daylight hours. Chances are that you go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. Because winter time is more in line with your natural clock it has a positive effect on your sleep and stress level. But then you have to deal with other factors that you can influence yourself
Our tips for getting used to winter time quickly!
- Our main tip is to go outside during the day and get enough daylight. As soon as daylight enters through the eyes, your melatonin level in your body drops. This hormone is important for your sleep-wake rhythm. Under the influence of light, the natural cortisol in our body rises. This is the sign for our body to wake up. Cortisol is not necessarily negative. It is necessary in order to take action. The more energy you have during the day, the more your body needs to go back to sleep on time. The best time is around noon to go outside for half an hour to an hour!
- Because light interferes with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, it is wise not to expose yourself excessively to light at least one hour before your desired bedtime. We know that blue light from our phones and television can mimic daylight very well. So make sure you don't watch television or spend too much time on your phone before you go to sleep!
- Go to bed one hour later on the Saturday evening before winter time starts so that you can wake up at your normal time on Sunday. This way you'll be in your natural rhythm the fastest!